Yeah, I agree - I think there are houses and perfumers where I can pretty much know I'm going to like something - and especially with a good or trustworthy review or two from particular people. I've made a few good blind buys that way.
Ask any basenoter, and he will probably say something like, "Try before you buy", or
"Sample first", or "Never blind buy". Great advice in theory, but we all know that some
frags are about impossible to sample, especially if you don't have a Perfume Court or such in your backyard. So, I have this rather large wardrobe of bottles that often just
sit there and gather dust. However, years of blind buying have given me some logic to the game. I know which houses are generaly reputable and which are just not my cup of tea.
So, here is how it usually works for me. I find that I can usually get a rewarding blind buy experience with frags in the 30-60 dollar price range if I do my homework a bit before I buy. However, I have been able to get samples from places that carry more expensive frags like Neil Morris and Luckyscent. A lot of these 60 dollars and up frags just don't hit the mark with me. So, I figure, niche and expensive frags are very high risk for blind buying. I also notice that a lot of niche frags are unisex and that also sets off red flags for blind buying them in my experience.
I sure came close to a blind buy on this one. Thank goodness it is available in a sample, even though the sample was a bit pricey. But my point. Niche company (Strike 1), 70 dollars an ounce (strike 2), and unisex (and your out). Definitely sample worty, but I would probably be upset blind buying this one instead of say, getting two 35 dollar bottles of Davidoff cologne.